Monday, August 27, 2012

Rounding Cape August

It's my contribution to the vernacular, even if the vernacular doesn't know it. (The vernacular pretends not to know me when I call to it on the street. Call itself Pat-WAH.)
Anyway, "Rounding Cape August," a phrase I invented while sitting on the deck of a small apartment back in the Eighties, looking out at a horizon piled with clippership clouds—which stood for the piled enterprises of the fall (the new year) that only come into view at the end of the month, when you're rounding Cape August with curiosity and optimism. There's a new wind in words. Purple loosestrife in the meadow. Jewelweed pods pregnant with seeds (in the coils of a secret tripwire). Ideas are migrating, flashing in small precision flocks like sandpipers. Doodles are developing fur coats. All this as Cape August falls away like a coast seen from a ferry: lighthouse, stunted trees, dipping tern, waving lobsterman, stacked gray lobster pots and coiled rope, driftwood tree trunks, clothesline chorus line, tourists loading a van, a dog leaping for a white Frisbee, the smell of fried clams. You return the wave, but your other hand is on the tiller, your eyes on that horizon.